Former DOJ Doofus Jeffrey Clark Will Never Tell His Trump Secrets And You Can't Make Him
Jeffrey Clark, the former Trump official who attempted to enlist the Justice Department in a coup, has refused to testify to the January 6 Select Committee. Instead, he showed up Friday for his scheduled appearance with this 12-page letter, obtained by Politico. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the document is batguano insane. The former president explicitly authorized Clark to testify to Congress in an August 2 letter, declining to invoke executive privilege. Nonetheless, Clark's lawyer Harry MacDougald, a Kraken alumnus, argues that privilege has in fact been invoked, and thus his client cannot possibly tell the Committee about his client's role in the events leading up to the Capitol riot.
"Despite disparaging and misleading media narratives," it begins, "Mr. Clark is not a politician and has never sought notoriety or press attention beyond what was necessary to discharge his duties."
As if Clark were being accused of being an attention whore, rather that trying to overthrow the government.
But this irrelevancy is a perfect foretaste of the utter ridiculousness of this entire missive. In August, Donald Trump said he wasn't going to invoke privilege to prevent the testimony of Clark or his former Justice Department colleagues Jeffrey Rosen, Richard Donoghue, Patrick Hovakimian, BJ Pak, and Bobby Christine. The other five guys dutifully started talking, because they are not SUCH A FREAKING LUNATIC.
But Clark has seized on Trump's threat to "take all necessary and appropriate steps" if the Committee "seek[s] privileged information from any other Trump administration officials or advisors." In his telling, the fact that the Committee went on to issue other subpoenas automatically invoked this clause, and thus Clark is duty-bound to keep his mouth shut.
Trump does not appear to have told Clark he cannot testify, or to have invoked executive privilege in his case. Nevertheless, Clark cites the invocation of privilege with regard to Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows as definitive proof that the former guy wants him to zip it. Also, Trump's lawsuit against the Committee to keep it from accessing presidential records in the custody of the National Archives is relevant to Clark's claim of privilege ... somehow.
If we are reading this correctly, Clark has looked into a vat of rancid goat entrails and divined Trump's intent to stifle him, and he'd like the Committee to accept this reasoning as legally valid. It's arrant nonsense, even if you disregard the clanging irony of someone invoking a snapback version of executive privilege to punish the Committee for seeking further information, at the same time he is excoriating the sitting president for "the haste with which Mr. Biden prejudged Mr. Bannon's invocation of executive privilege on behalf of former President Trump."
LOLWUT? Steve Bannon left the White House in 2017. There is no colorable claim of privilege for his conversations with Donald Trump in 2021 about anything, much less how to overturn Joe Biden's electoral victory. Nobody with a shred of integrity had to think about that one for more than five seconds, as Clark, who received his JD from Georgetown, knows perfectly well.
"Waivers of executive privilege should therefore be considered only with a gravity and solemnity commensurate with their deployment, and should not be influenced by workaday political grievances or by grudges lingering from past political controversies, even bitter ones," Clark insists with a straight face.
Meanwhile over in Trumpland:
The fake, highly partisan Unselect Committee continues to rock and roll. They were unable to make a deal with Kevin McCarthy to put real Republicans on the Committee, so they got stuck with low-polling warmonger Liz Cheney and Cryin' Adam Kinzinger who have no idea what our Party stands for. Cheney is polling in the low 20's in Wyoming, the State she doesn't represent. This is just a continuation of the Witch Hunt which started with the now fully debunked and discredited Russia, Russia, Russia Scam, quickly reverting to a perfect phone call with Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, and now this. The Unselect Committee is composed of absolute political hacks who want to destroy the Republican Party and are decimating America itself. I am the only thing in their way. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
Ah, yes, very gravity, much solemn.
As for the Committee, they very much do not have time for this shit. Here's Chair Bennie Thompson's statement on Clark's gambit:
Mr. Clark's complete failure to cooperate today is unacceptable. His refusal to answer questions about the former President's attempt to use the Department of Justice to overturn the election is in direct contrast to his supervisors at the Department, who have come in and answered the committee's questions on these important topics. It's astounding that someone who so recently held a position of public trust to uphold the Constitution would now hide behind vague claims of privilege by a former President, refuse to answer questions about an attack on our democracy, and continue an assault on the rule of law. As prescribed by the House Rules, I have considered Mr. Clark's claim of privilege and rejected it. He has a very short time to reconsider and cooperate fully. We need the information that he is withholding and we are willing to take strong measures to hold him accountable to meet his obligation.
That sounds more like a referral to the DOJ than a cheerful agreement to take Clark's suggestion that they pause the investigation until after Trump's bullshit lawsuit against the National Archives has been settled — i.e. dragged out for years in hopes that the GOP takes back the House next fall and shitcans the Committee.
It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.